Serious enough to allow it to permeate the media after the Olympics.
Serious enough to enact a new rule in the midst of playoff jostling.
Are they serious enough to enforce it?
I expect to have the answer to this question by the end of the day tomorrow. For those of you who watched the nearly back-breaking loss to the Minnesota Wild last night, one that puts the Kings’ on the verge of their longest losing streak of the season pending the outcome of tonight’s game, you saw a hit the head that in my opinion, should garner Minnesota’s James Sheppard a suspension. It could have been Nick Schultz. I apologize for my lazy memory. It was one of the two, but you should remember the hit that occurred just under 2 minutes into the third period.
Stoll went in behind the Minnesota net and upon trying to protect the puck, was thrown violently into the boards by Schultz or Sheppard. The hit would have been fine, had the Wild player not followed through with an elbow straight to the back of Stoll’s head.
Stoll rose slowly, his helmet in his hand. He got his bearings, received a pass from Frolov and crashed the net where he drew the first of two penalties on the play that would see the Kings’ unravel their own luck into a ball of diseased and feckless fuel on the ensuing 2 minute 5-on-3 powerplay.
But I digress.
You can make the argument that Stoll spun into the hit. I would make the argument that initial contact had already been made just prior to the elbow coming up and driving Stoll’s head into the boards.
Let’s see if the NHL and Colin Campbell put their money where their big fat mouths are and dish out a suspension to Sheppard or Schultz (trust me, its bothering me more than it is you that I can’t recall which player committed the offense).
Forget whether you agree with the new rule or not, which prohibits “a lateral, back-pressure or blind-side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact,” the fact of the matter is Stoll’s head was a principal point of contact.
Now I have a feeling there will be argument, and if there is no suspension, the allegation will be that Stoll’s head was hit on a follow through and was not the “principal point of contact.” Bull crap. Schultzeppard’s waist may have hit Stoll in the the side miliseconds prior, but in my estimation, the bulk of the force of the hit was transferred through the elbow to the head, even if some of the energy was deferred upon the technical point of initial contact.
It will be interesting to see how this rule is interpreted. I would think many could easily take “principal” to mean virtually the same thing as “initial”. Though ‘initial’ is not in the wording, I have a sucky feeling that is how ‘principal’ will be taken, that the head must be the first thing hit for the suspension to apply. Hedging my bets, if this turns out to be the case, shame on the NHL for wrongly wording the rule, as ‘principal’ does not mean first, but rather most consequential.
However I hope the rule is excercised properly according to the definition, and as anyone who watched Stoll struggle to figure out what the hell was going on after having his skull smashed from the back with an elbow and subsequently from the front by plexiglas, can easily tell that his head was the principal, or more definitively “most important, consequential, or influential” point of contact.
Categories: L.A. Kings News